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In this post, Victoria Foster Harrison of the Curly Girl Art Studio shares with us various adhesive solutions for encaustic artwork. How to choose the best glues for encaustic collage materials and how to ensure waxy encaustic monotypes adhere well to panels.
Victoria may not have gotten enough mud-pie time as a kid, but she’s now making up for that lost time! The encaustic printmaking process has many appealing aspects; free-flowing and fast, meditative and mesmerizing, and a medium that encourages loosening up. The results are lovely; simple, complex, layered, creamy, textural, and smooth. She finds the process of letting go and allowing the medium to have its own voice, brings forth intuition that has been hiding deep in her soul.
How to ensure Proper Adhesion for Encaustic Monotypes
THE QUANDARY: Many artists wish to adhere their encaustic monotype prints to a cradled panel or another substrate—BUT as a general rule, adhesives do not stick easily to the backside of waxy prints. To ensure successful adhesion for an enduring gallery presentation, Victoria recommends grit.
Grit for Encaustic Monotypes
Victoria uses what she calls a “grit” on the back of her prints. A coating of Encaustic Gesso, Tempera Paint or Venetian Plaster, thinned with water and painted or rolled on the back of the print, will create a mildly coarse surface, or grit, for the adhesive to grab onto. Though this process adds an extra step to your final product, it takes but a few minutes to apply, along with minimal time to dry and, in the long run, it’s a simple way to ensure a lasting result, saving possible embarrassment later.
Once the grit is fully dry, your print is ready for adhesive.
Using Dry Adhesive for Encaustic Monotypes & Collage
In general, Victoria’s favorite by far is a dry adhesive on a roll. It’s a fast application and reliable, repositionable for a short time, double-sided, has minimal bumps and bubbles and is great for large work.
Wet Adhesives for Collage
No adhesive, whether wet or dry, is 100% perfect. With wet adhesives, one runs the risk of getting bubbles and wrinkles, not to mention dealing with the drying time. Victoria does use wet adhesives, especially for paper ephemera and artwork that has deckled or torn edges and is on the small side.
Here are 10 adhesive products that Victoria recommends for use with collage materials.
- TALAS Jade #403
Many artists claim fewer bubbles appear.
2. Golden ACRYLIC MEDIUM (MATTE OR GLOSS)
An all-time favorite with collage artists.
A popular brand is Lineco, but other brands are available.
4. iCraft Mixed-Media Glue
The fine tip is great for torn edges & tight spaces, dries pretty flat.
5. ART GLITTER GLUE
The fine tip is great for torn edges & tight spaces.
There is no glitter in the product, that is just the name of the company.
6. Scotch Super 77
Multi-purpose spray adhesive.
Spray outside due to fumes.
7. GLUE STICK UHU
Great for travelling and collaging as you go, for small items.
8. E6000 Craft Adhesive
Great for 3D Work, very strong. Needs 10 minutes to set.
9. & 10. YES! PASTE mixed with GLAZING MEDIUM
YES! PASTE mixed with a GLAZING MEDIUM, matte medium or acrylic gel.
Please be aware that YES! Paste is water-soluble when dry, which can present problems in moist atmospheres.
GLAZING MEDIUM – add this product to YES! Paste to create a waterproof solution. Do not use it as an adhesive on its own.
How to Apply Wet Adhesives:
Victoria’s Tips for Gluing Collage Materials
- GLUE STATION: Use a junk mail catalog as a glueing station. Lay your collage piece on a clean page of the catalog after brushing wet adhesive on your collage segment, turn the catalog page for a dry page.
- ADHESIVE TRAY: Have a container dedicated to the adhesive. Recycled yogurt containers work very nicely, or use a container with a tight lid for future storage.
- APPLYING THE ADHESIVE: Use a brush to apply the wet adhesive to the backside of your item. A small roller from your local paint store or a printmaker’s brayer are great tools for smoothing out lumps and bumps.
- SMOOTHING: Once the artwork is laid on top of the surface it is being attached to (artwork side up, glue side down), start smoothing it out. Start from the middle of the surface being adhered, and with your hands, press outwards so the excess adhesive heads to the outside. Remove extra adhesive that is oozing out with a paper towel, tissue or baby wipe.
- EXTRA SMOOTHING: Lay a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper on top of your artwork – and if the artwork is not too fragile – rub smooth with a flat-edged silicone scraper, a brayer, or a flat tool of your choice.
- BUBBLES: Use a pin to pop any bubbles.
- PRESS: Overnight with something heavy — such as books or an upside-down cradled panel — for extra pressure to help the glue dry flat. Make sure to cover the artwork with parchment paper or waxed paper so your books don’t stick to the artwork.
- KEEPING BRUSH CLEAN: Have a water container handy to set your brush in as the wet adhesives will dry quickly on your brush. A pile of paper towels helps to dry the brush quickly when getting back to the glueing process.
If you have a question for Victoria, please comment below. Victoria has provided a PDF of this post that you can download here.
And, if you found this post helpful you may also want to read Mounting an Encaustic Monotype to a Panel.